Arsenal

Arsenal legend Ian Wright rages over ‘ridiculous’ moment that helped Aston Villa

A tight VAR call cost Arsenal points against Aston Villa on Saturday.

Having gone ahead in the 7th minute, Aston Villa spent the majority of the rest of the match coming under pressure from Arsenal.

The Gunners carved out a number of good chances to score, but consistently failed to apply the finishing touch. Mikel Arteta was critical of his side’s lack of efficiency in front of goal after the match, but also claimed that “we were the better team” and were unlucky to lose, as quoted by the club’s official website.

A number of Arsenal players were guilty of missing chances, including the club captain, who let two clear sights of goal pass him by. Plenty of Arsenal fans made their feelings about Martin Odegaard’s misfiring performance clear after the final whistle. However, Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli, and Bukayo Saka also passed up opportunities to score.

However, the visitors did finally find the back of the net in the dying moments of the match. After a brief goal-line scramble, in which the ball was pinballing around, Kai Havertz was able to prod it over the line. His celebrations were swiftly cut short, though, as referee Jarred Gillett blew his whistle, claiming to have spotted a handball from the Arsenal man.

VAR review of Kai Havertz goal costs Arsenal

A lengthy VAR review showed that the ball connected with Aston Villa defender Matty Cash’s arm, before ricocheting between him and Havertz. The ball then brushed Havertz’s knuckles as it dropped to the ground, before the German smuggled it home.

By the letter of the law, as the ball made any kind of contact at all with the goalscorer’s arm or hand, the correct decision to chalk the strike off was reached. However, it would be virtually impossible to argue that Havertz gained any type of advantage from his ‘handball’.

How Gillett can possibly have spotted the infraction in real-time, certainly from his vantage point outside of the box with players in his way, is another matter.

Reviewing the incident on Match of the Day, former Arsenal striker Ian Wright felt his old side were hard done by. He said, “this is the moment for me. The ball is so close to everybody. It has hit Matty Cash’s hand and Havertz’s hand. But the law says ‘it can’t hit your hand anywhere if it leads to the goal and you score’. It’s the most ridiculous law.”

Gary Lineker sided with Wright, saying, “defenders can accidentally handball it, but the forwards can’t. Why are we trying to stop goals? The people who make the laws of the game. Why are they doing that?! It’s bizarre.”

Wright then asserted, “it’s ridiculous. It’s the most ridiculous law in all of law, not just football. All law in the whole world. The whole multiverse.”

Wright was clearly angered by the decision to rule out Havertz’s equaliser. Arteta will also be furious about call.

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